March 12, 2014

Saturday Adventure 2: The New Site

A long time ago, a little over a week, I wrote a blog post about this wonderful Saturday I had exploring the area with the principal and three other teachers. 
On this adventure, we went to Newtok's old site - of course, if you actually read it, it wasn't Newtok then, and I still cannot type or pronounce the real name, hence "old site".

It was such a nice Saturday that we didn't want to end the adventure yet, so Grant gassed up and we rode out to the new site.

This is where Newtok gasses up. 
I actually had never been here before, nor did I realize exactly how they did it.

The gas is from inside that little building connected to the tank. Once you are done filling up, he tells you how much you put in then you go to the store which is a minute ride away and pay for the gas there.

Once we were fully loaded, we headed out!
The ride out to the new site probably took around 30 minutes.
The sun was shining, I had a back rest to keep me comfortable, and you could feel the wind through your hair - or sock hat - whichever!

Snow machines are so fun! While you are riding, you feel the sun beating down on you and the wind whipping all around you.
You can't help but have a huge smile on your face! 

And then that changes when the driver unexpectedly zooms faster and faster. Your face kinda shifts where you start feeling the wind in your cheeks. See what I mean?

It really felt like we were going 80 mph!

Finally, we could see the new site up ahead.

Newtok has gotten a lot of attention because of it's erosion problem.
The media has even called Newtok's natives the first "climate refugees".
In a previous post, I posted pictures of Josh and me actually touching the melting permafrost.
The permafrost is melting so much, each month the land is eroding and breaking off.
The science teacher does a project where he actually stakes out land so many feet off of the coast. I haven't asked lately, but last October, from August to October, 50 feet of land had broken off - the stake was almost gone. That's insane.

They are predicting that in three years the water will be up to the school's front doors.
When that happens, the whole village will move to the new site. 
The new site's name is Metarvik.
So really, when they move, Newtok will never exist again.
It blows my mind that the village we first moved to in Alaska won't always exist!

The new site has a few buildings and only one family is living there right now - by family I mean one older woman and man.
This summer I've heard that more families are making the trek over to settle down.
It's just hard right now to imagine a whole new village, because building the site has come to a stand still.
Hopefully, they can get it together and start building the necessary items, like a runway and a school.

If we aren't in Newtok when they move, I definitely want to come for a visit.
It sits right on the water's edge and has beautiful mountains behind it - it really is extraordinary!

Looking down on the site

 What the houses will look like

Some extra storage space.

Building materials to get the new site finished!
This is the evacuation site - in case of flooding!

The new site is in a really good place where you can see for miles and miles.

And the best part about the new site - the new "boardwalks".

I don't know if you can consider this a boardwalk, since it isn't made of boards. But this is going to be so nice, instead of the rotten boardwalks Newtok has now!

I mentioned earlier how there were mountains in the background of Metarvik.
They aren't huge mountains you might be thinking of, but it isn't the flat land that surrounds Newtok, either.
We decided to ride up the mountain to see the view from the top since we don't have that high ground on our side.

Anddddd this is where I can say I've been in my first snow machine accident. 
As we turned to head up the mountain, the degree at which Matt tried to turn, with three people all leaning to the same side, it made the the snow machine tip over. One second I was sitting upright with my back against the backrest, the next, I was on my side with the snow machine on its side next to me. I mean it literally happened that fast! 
Luckily, no one was seriously injured.
So scratch that off my bucket list: Get in a snow machine accent. CHECK!

But we finally made it to the top and it was breathtaking.
The shiny, fresh fallen snow with the sun shining so bright - it was magical. 

^^ This is one of my favorite pictures. I love that the clouds look like they are resting on top!


Four teachers!

This Saturday was one of the best Saturday's I've had in Newtok.
I'm lucky I work with such a great group of people and am surrounded my people that are so welcoming to include us in every aspect of their culture.
I will be visiting Metarvik when it's finished, no doubt!

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